Continuing on with Sunday Artist Interviews – many are lined up, so keep checking back – here’s Jess to tell you a little about herself and her work…
First of all, who are you?
I’m Jess (Jess Purser Art on Etsy). I’m currently living in leafy Surrey with my partner and two little girls.
I’m a watercolour painter in winter and oil painter more in the summer – I can’t open the windows for ventilation in the winter, so it works out better that way. One day, I’ll get a proper studio with ventilation year-round 🙂
Recently (being the last 2.5 years), I’ve been putting my energies into painting forests. It stemmed from my being a huge Twin Peaks fan and finding myself being invited to be one of their official artists in the 2017 return. Obviously, not holding any copyright over the Twin Peaks franchise, I can’t make a living out of that, so stepped sideways into my fascination with those ancient old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.
When you were asked (all those years ago!), “what do you want to be when you grow up?” What did you answer?
A marine biologist! My dad used to go sponge-diving off the coast of Cyprus in the 60’s and his stories always fascinated me. I still have bookshelves filled with ocean creatures.
I might not have followed up with that, but the ocean will always hold a place in my heart and I still do paint aquatic pieces now and then.
What is the funniest thing as an artist that has ever happened to you?
I’ve been wracking my brains about this one and think I’ll have to agree with Suszane from her interview back in October – I’m a monster for mixing my paint water and tea.
What is the hardest part of being creative?
It’s not the creative bit that I find hard – the actual painting – that’s my sanctuary. Being an artist – or running a creative business of any type, doesn’t stop when you put your brushes down. It’s there all the time. You dream it, you think about it when you’re meant to be doing other things. All of us have this going on and LOVE this creative life, or we wouldn’t do it.
What I find odd is that being an artist is often not seen as being a ‘real’ job. Someone, even a market stall owner, buying and selling items created elsewhere IS seen as legitimate, yet someone who sources materials and creates their own original items to share with the world ISN’T? Surely, it takes even more work to do this. Or do people think we just sit around splashing paint and being depressed? That plays on my mind sometimes. I feel I have to prove we can do this and do it well and happily 😉
The parts I find most difficult are the admin things – taxes, keeping records, emailing, filing, generally keeping things ship-shape. I’m not a natural administrator for sure haha!
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Play hard and work hard at your art. Practice the forms of what you paint, dive deep into those ideas.
What subjects inspire you?
Right now, it’s the forests and doesn’t look set to change any time soon.
Who are the 3 greatest living artists in your opinion? (they don’t have to be famous!)
I love JAW Cooper – her work ethic, sense of shape and form, love of nature and the way she has delegated the difficult parts of her business.
Nen Chang is fantastic. She’s a pioneer in the world of fantasy art, combining Chinese techniques and Japanese anime styles with a more typically-western fantasy ideal. Her figure-drawing skills are exceptional and she works her ass off! She doesn’t suffer fools, though, so watch out 😀
And now I have to say David Lynch. The way he just allows those ideas to flow. He doesn’t try to force anything and doesn’t allow other ideas to infiltrate his own creative vision, because once that happens, the artist is gone.
Who are the 3 greatest dead artists in your opinion?
Off the top of my head tonight, because this changes all the time… Bowie. Van Gogh. Heironymous Bosch.
What is your favourite work of art you have ever produced?
Recently, I’d have to say there are two. It’s usually the most recent work. One is my large oil painting – ‘In The Still of the Morning”
…and the other is my meditational card deck ‘Wisdom of the Forest’ – a real labour of love that I’m so proud of and so happy people supported during the Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign.
What was the last piece of art you sold?
My ‘Wisdom of the Forest’ calendar
And finally… Because this is really important….
What’s the best type of cheese? (haha)
Hahaha – I don’t really eat it anymore, but it was always a good, mature cheddar…and sometimes Brie in a white baguette with butter, heated in the oven till it’s all gooey 😉